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Student Opinions on School Hours

Student Opinions on School Hours by Travis Smothermon and Reese Kuhns

Pro

Ever wondering why students keep snoozing in first period?

A recent study by Stanford University shows that 87% of high school students are sleep deprived.

Some say the solution is for teens to simply go to sleep earlier, however recent studies have showed that hormonal shifts make it nearly impossible for teens to fall asleep at 8 or 9 p.m. In fact, the natural time for teens to fall asleep is typically around 11 p.m.

It is also important to note that to avoid sleep deprivation in young adults, the recommended amount of sleep is about 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours per night. Let us assume that the school start time is 7:20, as it was in years past. Most students would take a little more than an hour to get ready, and around 10 minutes to arrive at school on time, then most students would need to wake up at about 6 a.m.

This is a major problem for the generation of young adults. These hours add up to create a generation of sleep-deprived students. This can lead to numerous health issues including high blood pressure, a weak immune system and most importantly, low creativity and critical thinking.

Many students have voiced their opinions on the start times such as Dani Fulkerson saying how “The new times allow me to wake up at a time more natural for my body. “

Studies done in eight different school districts found that the later start times dropped tardiness by 66%. These districts also reported “significant increases in GPA” in all morning classes during all semesters compared to the earlier start times.

The study on the eight districts have also shown decreased numbers in negative health and behavioral effects including significant drops in depression and substance abuse. Reported car crashes by teens in high school were reduced by an average of 13% in the areas that decided to delay the start times, and there is an overall drop in teens reporting a reliability on their morning cup of joe.

The later start times have also created some displeasure in athletes as they are typically arriving at their doorstep around 7 p.m.  However, this should not be an issue considering how the teens circadian rhythm dictates when said teen should be sleeping. In fact, the new schedule complements athletes quite well in the sense that their time will be more efficient albeit less of it being used for free time.

Snider swimmer Cassie Mayhew insists that she would have to “wake up at 3 in the morning” for her swim practice.

The argument of the new schedule being insensitive toward athletes completely factors out morning practices as a variable, even though more and more teams have opted to hold practices before school.

It’s hard to adjust to a change. For many people, the new schedule has been one of the most difficult things to adjust to. At the end of the day the ends justify the means and far outweigh the uncomfortable switch.

FWCS is doing high school students a favor by taking into consideration the health and well-being of the students. Students should embrace the new schedule. It’s a dream come true.

Con

The high school setting is designed to give students the opportunity to learn in various ways. A large aspect of the Snider community is learning special skills through extracurricular activities.

However, the schedule change to FWCS schools four years ago has made it stressful to partake in these activities.
With the already limited number of daylight hours present in northeast Indiana, FWCS is taking away from their students’ learning experience, creating more harm than good. This is just one example of how the scheduling change for FWCS has created problems for students and their education.

Being a student athlete is tough as it is, but with the schedule pushed back, practices are going even later into the evening.

Senior cross country runner Emmaline Shoemaker confirmed that “because of the later school hours, there are evenings I do not get home until after 7 p.m., giving me less time for my responsibilities both inside and outside of school.”

With this pushed back schedule comes little time for students to unwind and adds stress to activities that should not be stress-invoking.

Another key component to consider is not just the daily schedule of students and staff, but also the schedules of other family members. Making teens go to school later in the day has negative effects on parents and younger siblings in larger households.

Parents who have a certain time they must be at work have to find other ways for their child to make it to school on time.

Sophomore Grady Tarney said, “I do not have a car, nor do I have my driver’s license. Since I live within the 2-mile radius of school, I have to carpool with my neighbor.”

Additionally, teens that typically serve as a babysitter after school waiting for their parents to come home are no longer available because their school hours are just as late as their parents’ work hours.

Senior Zoe Freiburger said, “We had to get a nanny for my 3 and 4-year-old brother and sister, something we didn’t have to do prior to the schedule change.”

The modified schedule has outside parties suffering from the inconvenience the hours have on their daily lives. This puts pressure on both kids and adults, an unfortunate byproduct of the new schedule.

Growing up going through elementary and middle school, kids learned to adapt to waking up early every day. These kids developed crucial habits needed to excel in future schooling and the workplace later in life.

In pushing back the schedule for high schoolers, these years of learning accountability and developing habits are thrown down the drain.  Why would they get up early for a job if they did not need to for school?

There is a lot of science out there that talks about the correlation that starting school later has on the academic performance and test grades for students. However, who is to say that additional sleep is the factor, or that students are in fact getting more sleep?

The claim that students will be getting more sleep is not necessarily true. Assuming they will go to bed the same time as usual is not a fair assumption for teens growing up in a generation with plenty of distractions and opportunities for procrastination that our beloved internet offers.

FWCS failed to investigate into the lurking variables present with the incorporation of the modified schedules. The Bert Lance maxim, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” serves as a good reminder for us to consider other things before making big changes, including the modified schedule. Regardless of the financial state, to ensure students and their families are comfortable and happy as members of the FWCS family, prioritizing their needs should come first. FWCS needs to return to the old schedule to allow teens to have a life, while preparing them for later life.

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